May 20, 2022 (Friday)
As the hearings on the events of January 6th and the attempt to overturn the 2020 election approach, the extent of the operation is becoming clearer.
Last night, lawyers for John Eastman filed a brief arguing, once again, that Eastman should be able to hide documents associated with the attempt to overturn the 2020 election on the grounds that he was working for former president Trump and so their communications are protected by attorney-client privilege. Eastman was the author of the infamous Eastman memo that provided a blueprint for then–vice president Mike Pence to throw the election to Trump, and he has done his best to delay the release of documents despite court orders to turn them over.
The filing is a litany of grievances against the court, but it does offer some new information. Eastman’s team is seeking to protect communications between Eastman “and one or more of six conduits to or agents of the former President with whom Dr. Eastman dealt.” The filing goes on to specify that three of those people worked on Trump’s campaign and that the other three were “members of former President Trump’s immediate staff.” The filing says, “While Dr. Eastman could (and did) communicate directly with former President Trump at times…, many of his communications with the President were necessarily through these agents.”
Among the documents he wants to protect are “[t]wo…hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation,” as well as documents from state legislators, “a party committeewomen” [sic], and someone who was “coordinating information sessions for state legislators.”
The filing tries to assert that these documents are covered by the attorney-client privilege because Eastman was justified in believing the election was fraudulent, even though reams of evidence have proved it was not. But what it has revealed is that there is written evidence that Trump himself was directly involved in the plotting to overturn the election.
Today, Emma Brown of the Washington Post broke the story that Ginni Thomas, who is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was even more deeply involved in the attack on the election than we knew. Ginni Thomas sent emails to two Arizona lawmakers on November 9, 2020, urging them to ignore the legitimately elected presidential electors for Democrat Joe Biden and replace them with “a clean slate.” Using a platform that provided prewritten emails, she urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure,” and “to fight back against fraud.”
One of the people to whom she wrote, Shawnna Bolick, is married to Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick. The Bolicks are close to Clarence Thomas, who is godfather to one of the Bolicks’ children. Shawnna Bolick responded to Thomas: “I hope you and Clarence are doing great!” In 2021, Bolick introduced a bill to allow the Arizona legislature to choose its own electors, regardless of the will of the voters. She is now running for secretary of state, where she would oversee the state’s elections.
Justice Thomas was apparently talking about the leak of the draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade when on May 6 he told a group of judges and lawyers that our justice system is in danger if people are unwilling to “live with outcomes we don’t agree with.”
And then, this afternoon, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Shawn Boburg, also of the Washington Post, reported that the billionaire co-founder, chair, and chief technology officer of the computer technology corporation Oracle, Larry Ellison, also participated in a call about the 2020 election. Legal filings in a court case against True the Vote, an organization that has spread lies about widespread voter fraud, contained a note from True the Vote’s founder Catherine Engelbrecht that read: "Jim [Bopp, a lawyer for True the Vote] was on a call this evening with [Trump lawyer] Jay Sekulow, [South Carolina Senator] Lindsey O. Graham, [Fox News Channel personality] Sean Hannity, and Larry Ellison…. He explained the work we were doing and they asked for a preliminary report asap, to be used to rally their troops internally, so that's what I'm working on now."
Ellison, whom Stanley-Becker and Boburg identify as the 11th richest person in the world, gives significant money to right-wing causes and candidates, including Lindsey Graham, to whom he donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2018. More recently, he pledged $1 billion of the $44 billion deal for Elon Musk to buy Twitter.
The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to collect information. Today, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani met with its members for nine hours. Initially, he said he would not talk with them unless his testimony was videotaped.
And the conspirators are not faring well in court: today, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols sanctioned Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO who has thrown his lot in with Trump and fought hard to overturn the election. Nichols called at least some of Lindell’s claims against the Smartmatic Corporation, a voting systems company, “groundless” and “frivolous.” Nichols threw out Lindell’s lawsuits against Smartmatic and other voting systems companies, and ordered Lindell to pay some of the costs Smartmatic has run up defending itself.
Lindell told Bloomberg News: “Whatever the judge thinks, that’s his opinion. I’ve got lawyers doing more important things like removing these machines from every state.”